17-20 years

Discover tips, tools, and support for this age

Expect lots of changes as your young adult becomes more and more independent. Young people this age usually finish high school and start college, a job program, or work. As they begin to head out on their own, stay active in their lives to help them become responsible adults. 

Scroll down to learn more about your young adult at this stage, explore available resources, and find free events for young adults. 


Development continues into adulthood! Learn about your young adult's growth and what to look out for during this exciting time.

Around 17–20 years old, most young adults:

  • Social

    • Use problem-solving to manage issues
    • Control their emotions
  • Communication

    • Write more clearly than they speak
    • Can explain why they choose to do something
  • Learning

    • Consider the impact their decisions will have on them and others in the future
    • Have high school-level reading and math skills
    • Plan complex and long-term projects
  • Health

    • Have 6 to 10 ounces of grains daily, including whole 1 ounce equals ½ cup oatmeal, ½ cup of rice, 5 whole wheat crackers, 1 slice of whole wheat bread, or ½ cup cooked pasta).
    • Have 2 ½ to 4 cups of vegetables daily (such as 1 cup baby carrots, 1 cup broccoli, ½ avocado, and 1 cup sliced peppers). Fresh, frozen canned or dried all count.
    • Have 1 ½ to 2 ½ cups of fruits daily (such as 1 medium apple, 1 banana, and ½ cup berries). Fresh, frozen canned or dried all count.
    • Have 5 to 7 ounces of protein foods daily (1 ounce equals 1 egg, ¼ cup of beans or lentils, 1 tablespoon peanut butter, or ¼ cup tofu). Protein foods include beans, lentils, tofu, nuts, nut butters, poultry, fish, eggs and meat.
    • Have 3 cups of dairy or suitable substitute daily. This includes whole cow’s milk, whole plain yogurt, or unsweetened fortified soy beverage.
    • Drink water at or between meals for thirst.

As your young adult transitions into adulthood, talk to them about risks and pressures they may face, including:

  • Act Early

    • Mental health issues that haven't been addressed
    • Criminal justice involvement
    • Abusive or unhealthy relationships
    • Substance misuse
    • Unsafe sex


Find the support your family needs to thrive

Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (CUNY ASAP)

The City University of New York (CUNY)

Help earning your CUNY degree

CUNY students can get financial, academic, and personal support to help them complete their associate degree.


NYC Human Resources Administration (HRA)

A free City ID card

IDNYC can often be used as an official ID for all New Yorkers age 10 and over.

Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP)

NYC Department of Youth & Community Development (DYCD)

Paid summer job experiences for youth

Up to six weeks of paid experience for young people ages 14-24.